would have vs had :

would have or had

People are often confused about how to discuss something that didn’t happen in the past. It’s standard usage to say “If I had remembered where I parked the car, I would have gotten home sooner.” Notice that in the part of the sentence containing “if” the helping verb is “had” but in the other part of the sentence, which depends logically on the first, the verb “gotten” is preceded by “would have.” The same pattern applies when the “if” is in a later part of the sentence: “I would have gotten home sooner if I had remembered where I parked the car.” Plain old “had” stays with the “if” clause (the second one) and “would have” goes in the other clause (the first one). The problem is that people used to thinking of “would have” as marking non-events in the past often replace a correct “had” with an incorrect “would have”: “If I would have remembered where I parked the car. . . .’ This is nonstandard. Even worse, the same mistake is made in sentences where no “if” is involved: “The robber wished he would have given

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News & Articles

  • English history with a twist in 'The Boleyn King'
    By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - What would have happened if Anne Boleyn, the wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I, had given her husband the son he so desperately wanted instead of miscarrying and eventually losing her head as a traitor? This is the premise behind "The Boleyn King" by Laura Anderson, the first book of a trilogy set to take a look at the reign of Henry IX, known as ...
    June 13, 2013 - Reuters via Yahoo! News
  • Gov. Herbert says he would have fired Swallow by now, Swallow responds
    SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert, R-Utah, said he would have fired John Swallow by now. Utah’s highest ranking...
    June 11, 2013 - FOX 13 Utah
  • Senate bill would treat sex trafficking as child abuse for victims
    WASHINGTON — Child prostitutes would be considered victims of abuse rather than juvenile offenders and would have to be referred to child welfare officials under legislation in Congress aimed at strengthening care for them before they become ensnared in the criminal justice system.
    June 11, 2013 - Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune

  • Hooker had no idea dead grandmother was in john's closet during sex romp
    She had no idea her john's dead grandmother was less than two feet away, her body stuffed into a closet, a hooker testified today of cavorting naked in bed with accused killer Larry Davis. Soft spoken lady of the night Nakeema Craig, 22, described in Manhattan Supreme Court the...
    June 17, 2013 - New York Post
  • Somone had to say something
    BOSTON x2013 Tyler Seguin knew something had to be said. And he was pretty sure it wouldnx2019t be fit for public consumption.After the Chicago Blackhawks badly outplayed the Boston Bruins in the first period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals Saturday night, Seguin ditched the microphone he had been wearing as part of the TV...
    June 17, 2013 - The Durango Herald
  • I had Three Dads
    I grew up believing I had three daddies. I thought it was normal to have more than one daddy. I had my “ r eal ” dad, my other dad, and a close family friend who I called dad. I thought a dad was a man who really loved you and you loved him. Of course, I was only three or four at the time.
    June 16, 2013 - The Gilmer Mirror